Move it…


“Move it” by Jackson Pollock

Since the inauguration, I’ve read and heard a lot of analysis about every appointee, statement, move, and edict. All of it is well-reasoned and well-intended, and designed to bolster up and feed into a growing sense of alarm and outrage. Unfortunately, while it has rallied believers, it is being ignored or discounted by non-believers, many of whom will be harmed by the people and policies being rammed through.

Why? Because they have been, and are being fed a constant stream of distorted or false messages targeted at their guts rather than their heads.

And this is a major problem.

The power bases on the Left, both in the media and government, have gotten so good at over-explaining, over-analyzing, muddling, and appealing to reason, that they’ve forgotten that most people do not respond to these sorts of appeals. No, most people respond to messages and images that hit them squarely in the gut, that stir up emotions in a deeply personal way.

Advertisers know this. So do salesmen. It’s how they get you to buy that expensive face cream, or bulky kitchen gadget you’ll use once and then give away.

Look at one of the Right’s campaign battle cries: “Hillary Clinton will take away your guns.”

The fact that this was untrue was irrelevant. It was leveled at an important segment of the population’s tender spot: it threatened  their freedom. For some, it threatened their abilities to feed their families, and it threatened their way of life.

The Right knew this, and used it every chance they got, as one weapon in an enormous arsenal which succeeded in opening wounds and making people bleed fear and loathing. And the weapons were used at a rate which ensured that the bleeding would not stop.

It’s propaganda through and through, simple and effective.

Unfortunately, most on the Left still haven’t figured this out, or learned how to use it, cut away the excess, streamline, change their language, go for the gut.

But if they’re going to reach the people they lost, regain their support, impress upon them that we, our democracy, our liberties, our world are truly in danger, they will have to be willing to attack the Right mercilessly and simply, in language that not only inflames, triggers emotions, and calls people to action, but does so in a way that feels both universal and personal; and they will have to do it non-stop.

Before it’s too late.

©2017 All Rights Reserved

10 thoughts on “Move it…

  1. Some of what you say is also valid in our Brexit situation. Before the June Referendum, all the Leavers spoke with passion, stirring emotions (however misguided). There was nobody to speak charismatically in favour of Remain in Europe. Perhaps there’s something to be said about unwavering conviction only being possible for an unquestioning mind. Anybody who thinks analyses and, inevitably, questions. Emotions are visceral – not cerebral, by definition.

    I’m not sure if attacking the Right – or anyone – would be constructive. I worry it would degenerate into a mud fight. But perhaps I haven’t fully understood your point. I like to believe that the best way to shake off all this darkness is by lighting as many lights as we can – by building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see your point, Katia, and believe that when reasonable people are sparring over principles and policies, and the best way to implement them, on a level playing field, that attacks are useless. However, Democrats now find themselves on a playing field which has been skewed to the right through the redrawing of districts, and mined with the vilest propaganda, stoking and legitimizing the basest parts of people’s natures and the worst elements of society (witness, the emboldening of White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klax Klan, and the rise in hate crimes). Additionally, the powers that back the current administration have demonstrated, over and over again, that their agenda is not merely one of disrespect for humanity and the planet, rather, it is one of utter contempt built on pure greed. When you have a “President” who has no respect for the Constitution (nor has even read it), no respect for our form of government, our allies, or our international treaties, and who sees the office as a way to enrich himself, who is systematically undermining and defying departments that were put in place to safeguard our democracy, our land, and its citizens, then it’s time to be clear in the way we talk about what’s happening: call a coup a coup, and Fascism, Fascism.

      I can see where the word, “Mercilessly” would be off-putting, and lead to the impression that I was talking about making accusations that are false or baseless; but believe me I am not. I am merely talking about using strong, plain language, and using it so often that it can’t be misunderstood or ignored.

      When a person is stricken by a malignancy, it’s imperative that the doctor who delivers the bad news is frank about the disease. If they say to a patient who is not familiar with medical terms, “You’re suffering from a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm,” the diagnosis will feel meaningless. But if the doctor says, “You have a type of Leukemia,” it will have a definite impact.

      Until people fully understand the nature of the cancer that’s attacking our democracy, and the force with which it’s spreading, we will not be able to cure ourselves of it.

      While it’s true that exposing the truth can be dirty and cruel, as with any malignancy, it is necessary. Because, ultimately, it is the only way to lead people out of the darkness.

      Many thanks, as always, for your comment and insights, Katia, and your gentle wisdom. I just wish the situation were such here that I could be more hopeful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written and thought out, Barb

    I realized the same during the elections. Trump was appealing to emotions. Facts did not matter to his supporters.

    This remains so. A study just released stated that forty percent of Trump’s supporters would accept lies from him. That makes sense; they desire emotional support and truth, not intellectual, logical facts. Unfortunately, emotions will take you so far before facts impose their diamond hard truth. It is like a person in an abusive relationship who wants and needs to be loved, and keeps believing the abuser when they apologize, tell them that they don’t mean it, and keep swearing they’ll change. We can all see the disasters, abuse and damage from the outside of their relationship, but until they reach an emotional imperative to change, they won’t accept the facts and will remain.

    Cheers, M

    Liked by 1 person

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